May 3, 2012
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly condemned the decision yesterday by a working group led by Kaunas mayor Andrius Kupčinskas to bring the remains of Lithuania’s World War II pro-Nazi political leader Jouzas Ambrazavičius-Brazaitis from the United States where he died in 1974, for reburial with full honors in Lithuania. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center described the decision as “an absolute outrage which exposes the hypocrisy of the current Lithuanian government which repeatedly claims that it takes the subject of Holocaust commemoration seriously.”
According to Zuroff:
“Jouzas Ambrazavičius was the leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), a staunchly pro-Nazi group which collaborated with the forces of Nazi Germany and openly called upon the local population to attack Lithuanian Jews. This incitement to murder was a significant factor in the violence unleashed by Lithuanians against Jews in more than forty places, even before the arrival of the German troops and in the horrific wave of mass murder unleashed with massive local help after the country was occupied. To honor Ambrazavičius is to besmirch the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania and make a mockery of Lithuania’s programs of Holocaust commemoration and education.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).